Aside

Legend of Korra: Book 2 Comes to a Close

It was a long, at times difficult journey, but here we are at the end of Book 2: Spirits.

It’s hard to believe, but we wrote the scripts for Book 2 roughly between May, 2011 and May, 2012. We didn’t mix the last episode of Book 2 until Nov. 11, the monday before the show went up on Nick.com. We don’t usually cut it that close, but it was really down to the wire on this round of episodes.

It’s a relief to finally have Book 2 complete and out in the world. (And if you haven’t seen it all, there will be spoilers below…)

Cosmic korra

What I’m most proud about in Book 2 is how much we were able to explore the Spirit World and spirituality in general. I want to tell stories that are entertaining, but also enlightening in some way.

Everyone gleans different lessons and nuggets of wisdom from the show, so I don’t mean this as the end-all for what Book 2 is about.  But looking back on this past season, there’s one big take-away for me:

Even though we identify as human beings, we have the potential to tap into something beyond our human forms.

Both Korra’s story and Wan’s story are about humans moving beyond their ordinary abilities, and becoming something extraordinary. Wan used his cunning, bravery, and wisdom to move beyond his humanness, ultimately fusing with Raava to become the first Avatar. And Korra, when she loses her connection to the past Avatars and her Avatar spirit, looks deep within herself and forms a new connection with the cosmic version of herself. When Korra is at her lowest point, Tenzin tells her: “The most powerful thing about you is not the spirit of Raava, but your own inner spirit. You have always been strong, unyielding, and fearless” and that Wan became a legend “because of who he was, not what he was.”

In Hindu philosophy, there is a concept called Atman, which is defined as the “innermost essence of each individual” or “the supreme universal self.” This is my interpretation of what Korra sees and becomes when she meditates. The giant blue Cosmic Korra is a visual representation of her inner essence.

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With this episode, I wanted to show how any one of us has the ability to tap into that cosmic, more-than-human version of ourselves and expand past the possibilities of what we think we’re capable of.

We can all be the Avatar in our own lives.

In Hindu mythology, Shiva takes many different forms. Sometimes he’s destructive, sometimes meditative, other times benevolent. I think of Korra like that. Most of her life she has been in warrior mode, but she is learning that, depending on the situation, she can take other forms.  In our own lives, we put on different forms or act differently, depending on the situation. We act differently with our best friends, than with our parents, or in a business situation.

Through the story of Wan, we come to learn that the Avatar is part human, part spirit. This is how I have come to see all humanity — we’re all part human, part spirit. Like Korra, for a long time I wasn’t aware of my spiritual half, but over the years I’ve become more in tune with it and more accepting of that side of life.

Theologue-3

Theologue by Alex Grey — The union of human and divine consciousness

Joseph Campbell has a couple great quotes related to this in “The Power of Myth”:

“…each of us is a completely unique creature and… if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else’s.”

“Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.”

This is why stories, when made with love and integrity, contain the possibility to affect personal and societal change. And it’s no coincidence that Book 3 is called “Change.” So get ready, change is coming…

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55 thoughts on “Legend of Korra: Book 2 Comes to a Close

  1. Great read Mike! I have grown up in a Buddhist family, and one of the main themes in Buddhism is letting go. I’ve struggled with this throughout my life. I’ve grown up with ideas about who I should be and how I should look, but these ideas always bring me down because I can never live up to them. Korra has really helped me let go of who I think I should be, and instead embrace who I am. For that, I want to thank you, as well as everyone else who contributes towards Korra, from the bottom of my heart.

  2. I just got a friend of mine hooked on A:TLA. He watched from The Siege of the North to Tales of Ba Sing Se yesterday…It’s great seeing him react to Aang’s journey. His sporadic texts to me throughout the day made me remember how I felt when I saw those episodes for the first time, and I was surprised that I felt the same way with Korra’s Book Two finale. None of the magic has been lost for me.

    I’m still processing everything that happened in the finale…I honestly don’t know what you can do to top yourselves in the upcoming seasons; I don’t know how the stakes can be any higher. But I know I’ll be (very pleasantly) surprised with what comes next, when you and Bryan and the rest of Team Avatar bring us more of the highest quality television I’ve seen. I’ll miss Aang and his spirit, and those of the other Avatars, but it will be good for Korra to learn and grow on her own.

  3. I’ve very much enjoyed watching Book 2 of Korra and I love love that there is so much spirituality in these shows. A lot of people out there are also looking for a spiritual path and this show touches on that and encourages others to look within. Its amazing that you can get these spiritual messages out to a mass audience. I wish I was on your creative team!

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  5. So why Jinora?

    Yeah they’re a team and work together to make the world a better place, but if this was Korra’s big (heh) moment why didn’t she make all the difference?

  6. This doesn’t really have much to do with the subject of the post, but I was hoping for possible answers to just a few main questions:

    1. How can Korra bend in her giant blue spirit form?

    2. How does Jinora restore Raava?

    3. How can Korra bend multiple elements without Raava?

    Great finale, but a bit confusing.

    1. Korra can bend multiple elements because Wan learned them all one at a time and had Raava give them to him. If you watch the episode where Wan is introduced he only fused with Raava because she made him stronger and he was able to stop the fighting between the humans and spirits when they were together. He could still bend all four elements without Raava.

      1. I’ve not only watched it, a few times in fact, but I’ve re-examined every individual scene where he bends, because I’ve had this argument multiple times. There is no occasion where Wan bends 2 consecutive elements without Raava passing through him. I believe this is very unlikely to be an accident, given how often he has to Bend in “Beginnings.” In particular, he only uses Firebending before Raava enters his body in his final battle with Vaatu, at which point he suddenly breaks out all 4 in rapid succession. He actually didn’t seem that much stronger with her in his body. In fact, the first time it happens, his friend Jaiya specifically draws attention to the fact that he’s bending all 4 elements, not that he’s gained more power.

        I thought that if there was even a chance of getting common questions answered, then I was obligated to include that one, but truth be told, I already have a theory that I’m fairly confident in:

        Korra remains bonded to Raava even when Raava is outside of her body. I arrived at this conclusion because each attack aimed at Raava affects Korra. She both feels pain from the strikes, & of course, her past lives are stripped away. It isn’t as though this was temporary either, because after Raava was slain, Korra was apparently so wounded that SPIRIT water was required to heal her, even though there was plenty of normal water around. If she can still feel Raava’s wounds, then it is logical that she retains the abilities that Raava’s power gives her.

        It’s the other 2 that I don’t have answers for, which is why I listed them first.

      2. Hi! I just had to comment. Possibly the best explanation (at least for me) as to why Korra remained able to waterbend is because of the fact that water is her “original” element. Just as Wan had started out with firebending, Korra started out as a waterbender anyway. It stands to reason that her ability to waterbend does not stem from her Avatar lineage alone but also because of her father, being a waterbender, passing it unto her as well.

        I’ve watched the finale a couple of times now and I don’t seem to recall her ever bending anything other than the water she used to “purify” Vaatulaq.

        A more novel theory would have to be that the water they keep on using to “purify” spirits isn’t waterbending per se, but energybending. Maybe Unalaq had acquired the ability at some point in time that enabled him to become the so-called spiritual leader of the water tribes as for him being able to do it. On the other hand, Korra had energybending done unto her and passed to her through Aang. It stands to reason that when Aang used his energybending prowess on her, he passed it along to Korra as well (since she was able to use it on Bei Fong). This ability is not just passed down to the next Avatar, and it remains unique to those who possess it (Korra did not have it to begin with, it was just granted to her in the same way that it was granted to Aang by a lion turtle).

        Those things aside, the dialogue went something like: “…cannot hold different essences all together at once” (nv). So from there we have to assume that Raava holds the other essences while the Avatar is the holder of his/her “birth” essence.

    2. my answer in no.1 question is.
      – Actually , korra is not in spirit form. she’s on his cosmic form(the blue giant).
      2. – Jinora didn’t restore raava. She just shows korra where raava is.
      3. – Yes, korra did bend. but remember avatar wan got the four element/power from lion turtles not from raava. raava just restored all this ability to the past generation, so korra still can bend all 4 element even without the light spirit(raava)

      1. Wow, I’m surprised at the turnout to this comment.

        1. I’ve heard this before, but there was never any indication that there was this thing called a “cosmic form” that’s different from a spirit form that it just so happens to look virtually identical to. So, if this is true, I pretty much need an “Official Explanation ™” of what exactly the differences are.

        2. Either way, it makes no sense at all to me that Jinora can just randomly do something relating to Raava that Korra can’t. Korra is in spirit/cosmic/whatever form, using Energybending, AND has a soul that’s been bonded to Raava for 10,000 years. If she couldn’t find her, how could Jinora?

        3. I’m not really sure I understand what you’re saying. This question stems from the fact that, during “Beginnings,” the only time that Wan is seen bending possessing multiple elements simultaneously is when Raava is inside of his body. Any other time he switches between elements, he literally switches, with Raava going through his chest to pull out his current element & replace it with another. Since this pattern happens so many times, the prevailing theory for why the Avatar can bend multiple elements is the bond with Raava.

    3. Hello. I agree with a lot of your assessments, but you might be missing some information.

      When Tenzin & Korra are going up to the Tree of Time, both are riding air currents, & from the way the scene looks, if it were anywhere else, I’d say that Korra was bending the air herself. So I felt it would be hypocritical of me to say that it doesn’t count just because I thought she couldn’t bend air at that point. That’s why I ultimately had to reject the “she can only bend water because it’s her natural element” explanation.

      I really doubt that the water purification thing is Energybending. Why make it look like Waterbending, even explaining in interviews that it derives from healing, & then never bother to explain to us that this isn’t true?

      What the Lion Turtle says that “perhaps” Wan could master multiple elements, but that, “no human has ever held more than 1 element before.” It goes on to say that, “Raava will have to hold them until you master them,” which people sometimes point to to say that Wan could indeed hold multiple elements at once. But it never happened, so either he didn’t master the elements before fusing with Raava, or humans having multiple elements just can’t be done under normal circumstances. It DID kind of indicate that it really didn’t know what would happen.

      1. Well, they never really explicitly said it was water bending (although ofc it does look like it), so I didn’t just reject that theory just yet.

        As for the air thing, that is a good point. I failed to remember that part and I commend you on your keen memory. Well, as far as I can tell, the air bending thing can be explained two ways (with the assumption being made at the start that she should not be able to bend other elements since the spirit that held the essences together was whipped to shreds): Tenzin gave her a lift (which seems unlikely since he should have given Korra a lift before coming up himself as was the case for other people he has given lifts/boosts to), or that it had something to do with her disposition as a bender.

        On a side note, let me throw in this thought since I just want to get it off of my chest and maybe you can help me with it. This may seem a little bit far fetched, but ever since Tuff started the metal bending trend, i’ve had this conspiracy where every bender should be able to bend the other elements to some extent in some way or another. Going at it in a scientific way, fire is generated from air (molecules) vibrating very fast, water vapor exists in the atmosphere, and so on and so forth. The relationships may seem a bit strained but I got those vibes after hearing Tuff explain why she felt she could metal bend. After all, those four elements were in Greek (I think) philosophy as being the key elements of the earth.

        So yeah, maybe her air bending stems from that (haha here’s to pushing for that wild thought!) with her not being privy to how she is able to do it, maybe it just felt natural. Now, when I said her disposition as a bender, I meant how her bending developed throughout the series so far. Recall that her air bending did not manifest until she “lost” her bending to Amon. How come this happened? As the Avatar she should have already been able to have the ability to air bend, just not do it maybe since she lacked the “maturity” to do it. So, in a sense, when Amon blood bended her, all of her bending skills should have been taken from her, even air bending. Of course, it can be argued that blood bending merely blocks access to the bending facilities of a bender but how come her air bending wasn’t blocked? Is it because he couldn’t feel yet the essence of air manifesting in her so she did not “feel” anything to block her air bending? We were never really given a proper conclusion to that and all i’m guessing at stems from speculation. Maybe her bending the air had something to do with that. I do not know how to explain this idea as acutely as I would like, but that may have something to do with it.

        As for the energy bending not passing down, well that kinda is the point. Not all bending prowess will be passed down, there’s only a probability that it will be passed down. So that could explain why Aang’s energy bending abilities weren’t manifested in any of his children. Yet. Maybe energy bending isn’t something like the elements wherein those who acquire it through lineage will just suddenly have this feeling “Oh, I can energy bend!” Who knows? Maybe Bumi has it and he just doesn’t know.

        On the note of Amon being able to bend when his father was supposedly stripped of his bending, I think it all boils down to energy bending putting a block/lock to the bending essence, not stripping them of it per se. I don’t seem to recall any bender coming from 2 non-benders (correct me if i’m wrong, kinda rusty here). So while his bending was locked, it didn’t really stop him from the probability of passing down his bending capabilities to his offspring.

        And yes, the lion turtle did say that. And he didn’t give hints as to what might happen to people who hold all four essences. But the lion turtle of air consented to pass down the essence of air with Raava being the bearer of the other element(s). From there, i’ve come to believe that Raava holds the other elements while the Avatar does not use them and she acts as a bridge (an added vessel, since I assume they believe humans don’t have enough vessels to carry essences) to the other essences should the Avatar use them simultaneously.

      2. Oh let me add. I think the energy lion turtle that met with Aang said something that in the beginning, everyone bended not the elements but the energy within ourselves to that extent. Maybe, just maybe, everyone is born an energy bender but not everyone has access to it because of some weird occurrence (might be because of how the spirits left the human world since spirits have a lot to do with energy in my view point) and the energy lion turtle just reopens that.

        That, or the lion turtle was generalizing too much and was actually referring to just the people he granted access to it.

      3. “Well, they never really explicitly said it was water bending (although ofc it does look like it), so I didn’t just reject that theory just yet.”

        According to the Avatar Wiki, it was said during San Diego Comic Con.

        “As for the air thing, that is a good point. I failed to remember that part and I commend you on your keen memory.”

        Thanks, but I didn’t even notice it, someone showed it to me after the fact.

        “I’ve had this conspiracy where every bender should be able to bend the other elements to some extent in some way or another.”

        I think that it can be “faked,” for instance using water vapor like airbending or using airbending to lift a boulder, but not that the actual substance can be controlled. So like plantbending, for instance. You can bend the water in a plant, & the plant will move with it, but if the plant is too dry or rigid, then it cannot be manipulated.

        “So yeah, maybe her air bending stems from that (haha here’s to pushing for that wild thought!) with her not being privy to how she is able to do it, maybe it just felt natural.”

        I don’t really see it, because there’s water all around, so she could have just climbed up on a waterspout or ice bridge, or something.

        “So, in a sense, when Amon blood bended her, all of her bending skills should have been taken from her, even air bending. Of course, it can be argued that blood bending merely blocks access to the bending facilities of a bender but how come her air bending wasn’t blocked? Is it because he couldn’t feel yet the essence of air manifesting in her so she did not “feel” anything to block her air bending?”

        The connection hadn’t been established yet, so there was nothing for him to cut. This is apparently said on the DVD commentary, but I actually think it’s pretty easily deduced. Can’t cut what isn’t there yet.

        “On the note of Amon being able to bend when his father was supposedly stripped of his bending, I think it all boils down to energy bending putting a block/lock to the bending essence, not stripping them of it per se. I don’t seem to recall any bender coming from 2 non-benders (correct me if i’m wrong, kinda rusty here). So while his bending was locked, it didn’t really stop him from the probability of passing down his bending capabilities to his offspring.”

        But if the Lion Turtles take “the element” back when you enter the city, & “the element” is banned within the city limits, then it stands to reason that this act of taking back the element prevents the individual from having a child with “the element.” If we suppose this is untrue, then why does having Bending removed not affect your future offspring, but having it given does?

        “From there, i’ve come to believe that Raava holds the other elements while the Avatar does not use them and she acts as a bridge (an added vessel, since I assume they believe humans don’t have enough vessels to carry essences) to the other essences should the Avatar use them simultaneously.”

        I think I agree with this, but I’m not sure.

        “Oh let me add. I think the energy lion turtle that met with Aang said something that in the beginning, everyone bended not the elements but the energy within ourselves to that extent.”

        That’s another line that’s become the center of debate. After “Beginnings,” people started saying that “we” must have meant “us Lion Turtles,” but then Tenzin implied that ancient humans used Energybending after all…to say that the revised history presented by Season 2 is unclear is a dramatic understatement.

    4. Wait, I know I’m asking a lot on a post that isn’t even a Q&A, but I just have to me add one more, because not many people take issue with this, so it’s less likely to spread up the grapevine:

      How come, whenever the Lion Turtles in Wan’s time gave or took away Bending, the change was passed on to the person’s offspring? This didn’t seem to be the case with Aang. None of his children or their children inherited the Energybending that he was given, he either didn’t or couldn’t restore the Air Nomads by giving away free airbending to the Air Acolytes, & also Yakone was able to have waterbending children despite being stripped of his Bending.

      1. I don’t check the Avatar Wiki as much since I just go and watch episodes again and get drawn into them all over again haha. But I guess we can resolve the issue by agreeing that, then, it has to be water bending.

        As for the faking the bending of other elements, well that was what I meant although I also wanted to point out the fact that with physics at hand, bending the elements are basically like bending the same thing, molecules and stuff. But that’s too science-y so let’s just disregard that for now.

        As for the connection thing, fair point yet again. Well, I think I realized that several times before and it might have crossed my mind. As for Amon having water bending even if his father was stripped of it, maybe it has something to do with the “energy” that his father has. Maybe this energy already had semblances or bits and pieces of the essence of water in it (in the same manner, blood bending). Energy bending has got to be something which blocks the chi-flow, or whatever it is or how they would like to define it, of the essence within the body, but not the energy of that body itself. I mean, when you think about it, if you remove the energy of something or someone, it will be tantamount to killing them or making them zombies. I’m just throwing out random thoughts here as they come to mind, so feel free to comment on this largely. After all, if it was equivalent to removing all the energy or blocking it to a person, Aang should have killed Ozai with what he’s done. Of course, he did the disco lights battle with Ozai which hasn’t been replicated in Korra until the giant spirit fight.

    5. Wan shifted bending styles when his and Raava’s energies fused. Their energies fused for good, so the bending remained.

      Besides, recall Yangcheng’s words, that the Avatar’s duty is for the world, and thus it has no “nationality” or “inherent bending style”

      1. First paragraph: I believe you said more-or-less the same thing that I did, only in a much less convoluted fashion.

        Second paragraph: Not so. That’s not really the context that statement was meant for. The Avatar may not have a NATIONALITY, but s/he still has ETHNICITY. Korra has the nose, hair, skin color, etc. specific to the Water Tribe, & especially her parents. It follows that she also inherited Waterbending from them, but not any of the other Bending Arts, because they don’t have it to give.

  7. O, hello there, Mister Mike DiMartino :) . Truly, I’m a great fan of all Avatar stories. Since the beginning of the ATLA stories has came out, I’ve been enjoyed watching all of the series. Even, sometimes I connect all of the ATLA & LoK stories to the fate of the real world where we live now. You should also know, that I’m a Muslim. Why I mention my religion? Because, the truth is, the story of the Avatar (not made by James Cameron, haha) that has been written by you and all of your friends are similar with the story of fate of the Muslim people from the beginning until now for 1435 years, also about the Islamic eschatology.

    Haha…maybe you’ll laugh for this. But, there is another reason why I like all of the Avatar stories. The reason is, the concept of the eternal mission of the Avatar is absolutely same as Islam mission…to bring peace and balance to the world.
    I suggest you not to follow all of the medias who have announced news that Islam is a terrible and radical religion. It’s absolutely wrong. I’m not like those men who has been called as terrorists, including the majority of the Muslims in whole over the world.

    Well, I will not tell everything about Islam here. I’m just want to tell you that, I’m a great fan of all of the Avatar stories and it’s also inspired me about how to become the Avatar in the real life :) . I’ll be patient to wait for the third Book that has been titled of Change.

    Have a great spirit, Mr. :) !!

    1. “I’m not like those men who has been called as terrorists, including the majority of the Muslims in whole over the world.” It’s wrong typed. The right one should be like this : “I’m not like those men who has been called as terrorists, also the majority of the Muslims in whole over the world.” I’m sorry for that.

  8. I think you did really poorly in showing the spirituality of Korra. Going to a magic, otherworld isn’t spiritual just because you call it a spiritworld. Korra didn’t even go on a spiritual journey, and seems just as hamfisted as ever.

    Jinora also seemed odd, in that she had unexplained spiritual power that was so great it was key to saving the world.

    Korra connecting with her innerself is good, but it was poorly conveyed. Becoming a giant blue version of yourself and punching evil is far from a spiritual ascension.

    I feel you poorly conveyed all these things. Korra never developed spiritually before us, Jinoras power makes no sense, and Giant-Blue-Jaeger does not equal connecting with the inner self

    1. Love the show… and liked the season as an experience… but yeah, i agree with you. Thats finale sort of ruined the mythology for me. And Mike’s post just confirmed it, while looking at the finale i was literally going in my head “its like they don’t get IT”.

    2. I think I might need someone to explain what a spiritual journey is even supposed to look like, because I’m sitting here thinking, “It’s got magic & moral philosophizing, what more does it need?”

    3. I think a introspection type of scene would have been better than just sitting inside the tree and becaming a blue gigant in a few seconds :(

      I also don’t understand why Mako and Korra broke up if they are supposed to be soul mates and love each other, it feels like melodrama for the sake of melodrama.

      1. I guess there could have been more of her talking to herself, but I feel like it would be a lot of time to get to the same outcome. Unless you want the blue giant removed entirely, which I’m not sure I’d disagree with.

        I don’t really mind the break up per se, but when I heard that we were going to see them adjust to their relationship problems, a cycle of “get together, everything’s great, go through problems, break up, repeat” isn’t really what I had in mind. Though mention was made of avoiding romance because fans didn’t like it, so maybe the break-up was a late addition.

        Boleska, on the other hand, causes me acute renal failure. It was addressed in so many different ways that she was bad news, so why would Bolin be ready to jump back into her arms at the drop of a hat?

  9. Thanks for the post Michael. I really enjoyed Korra Book 2, especially the finale (there were a couple questions I had about the story that I discussed with my college friends in this podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tech-heads-avw-productions/id476169958)

    As far as big thematic/spiritual takeaways from Book 2, I really like what you did with Korra’s relationship to her position as the Avatar. Where as Aang just wanted to be a normal kid but found himself the Avatar, Korra always wanted to be the Avatar. I felt like this was expressed in Book 2 episode 3 when she talked to her mom about how learning she was the avatar changed their normal lives. Then after Rava’s spirit is ripped out of her, she feels like she’s lost her very identity. But Tenzin, who’s overcome his own issues with himself as the airbender son of Aang, is able to teach her to derive power from within herself.

    It’s like Korra says: “Even though we should learn from those who came before us, we must also forge our own path.” She is not defined as the Avatar or by her past lives. She is Korra, and Book 3 sets her up to forge her own path as the first Avatar of a new age.

  10. As a longtime fan of both Avatar series, I have some issues with the mythology as explained in this last season. If the Avatar spirit is basically Wan’s multiple and successive reincarnations in each tribe over the past 10,000 years, (fused with Raava, granted); then how is it possible for Korra to lose her connection with her own previous lives? They’re not separate from her, but different manifestations of her own soul, right?

    And if Raava and Vatu are sort of primal forces of light and dark, battling never-endingly for aeons without ever defeating each other, how is it possible for a mere human to have done so, no matter how powerful their cosmic self was? And how come Vatu didn’t have Raava inside him- since he’s supposed to never be able to defeat her? And on that, does Korra, now fused again with Raava, have the seeds of Vatu growing inside Raava and therefore Korra?

    Also, following up on Lithp’s question about spirit Korra bending all four elements without Raava: the answer given by Rachael makes sense, but only if Korra still has a connection with Wan. Or can she bend all elements because she learned them on her own? But that doesn’t make any sense- once she has her connection severed from her past lives, shouldn’t she have reverted back to only being a water-bender? As a child prodigy who naturally bended water, fire and earth (because of her connection to her past lives), she never had to LEARN to bend these elements- she just instinctively knew.

    As a side note, I was disappointed with Lin Bei Fong’s characterization this season, being led by the nose by her two incompetent detectives. What happened to the brave, resourceful, intelligent, straight-talk express from season one? I find it hard to believe that Lin would EVER be so blinded that she couldn’t see tweedle-dumb and dumber for the nincompoops they were.

    As a second side note- did Iroh die? Did he go body and soul into the spirit world? Through where? One of the portals- but they’ve been closed for the past 10,000 years. He said that he DECIDED to go to the spirit world, not really spelling anything out. Does one have a choice on death: either spirit world or reincarnation? Or is the Avatar the only soul that get to reincarnate?

    And, lastly, really uncool to dangle Zuko in front of us like a carrot this season.

    1. Let me see if I can help in any way:

      “If the Avatar spirit is basically Wan’s multiple and successive reincarnations in each tribe over the past 10,000 years, (fused with Raava, granted); then how is it possible for Korra to lose her connection with her own previous lives? They’re not separate from her, but different manifestations of her own soul, right?”

      I admittedly do not pay much attention to stuff involving souls, as it’s a concept that I find inherently illogical. So I can’t really tell you anything here. If I’m accepting that souls exist in a fictional world, then I’m willing to believe they can do more-or-less whatever they want.

      “And if Raava and Vatu are sort of primal forces of light and dark, battling never-endingly for aeons without ever defeating each other, how is it possible for a mere human to have done so, no matter how powerful their cosmic self was?”

      She actually doesn’t, Unavaatu eventually overpowers her, & she only defeats him with the purification technique. You could say that they were fighting fairly evenly before that, but on the other hand, I don’t feel that Vaatu is particularly powerful, Dark Avatar or not. Some human characters have done better against the Avatar State than Vaatu. How much more powerful could it possibly be just by fusing with Unalaq?

      “And how come Vatu didn’t have Raava inside him- since he’s supposed to never be able to defeat her? And on that, does Korra, now fused again with Raava, have the seeds of Vatu growing inside Raava and therefore Korra?”

      Didn’t he? Korra does pull Vaatu out of his chest. If so, the answer to your 2nd question is probably yes.

      “Also, following up on Lithp’s question about spirit Korra bending all four elements without Raava: the answer given by Rachael makes sense, but only if Korra still has a connection with Wan.”

      I responded to that comment, actually. I THINK I have the answer, & if so it’s not that Raava is unnecessary. I just asked because it’s a common question.

      “As a child prodigy who naturally bended water, fire and earth (because of her connection to her past lives), she never had to LEARN to bend these elements- she just instinctively knew.”

      There’s more communication between the nations, & Aang was known to pick up the other elements pretty quickly after seeing them. I don’t think it’s that she could perform them from near the very beginning.

      “As a side note, I was disappointed with Lin Bei Fong’s characterization this season, being led by the nose by her two incompetent detectives. What happened to the brave, resourceful, intelligent, straight-talk express from season one? I find it hard to believe that Lin would EVER be so blinded that she couldn’t see tweedle-dumb and dumber for the nincompoops they were.”

      I didn’t have a problem with it. You can’t make sure that your department is 100% competent 100% of the time. She manages to quickly get in position to arrest Varrick before he can even attempt to escape, which must indicate that she didn’t REALLY believe the attempt to frame Mako. The thing was that her detectives weren’t doing their job, her beat cop was spouting wild theories without proper evidence, & the whole thing reflected very badly on her.

      “As a second side note- did Iroh die? Did he go body and soul into the spirit world? Through where? One of the portals- but they’ve been closed for the past 10,000 years. He said that he DECIDED to go to the spirit world, not really spelling anything out. Does one have a choice on death: either spirit world or reincarnation? Or is the Avatar the only soul that get to reincarnate?”

      I’m not sure about most of this, but Iroh says that he left his body behind years ago, a condition which apparently would have killed Jinora if she stayed away for much longer. So that would indicate that he is indeed dead, from a biological standpoint.

  11. hi mr michael i receive your letter and i am very exiting ..i like very much  what you said about human part and spirit part ..one complete another and people can do great things if they know how to control these 2 parts ..the spirit is wise but the body is always moving ….i will finish the first season about my story i hope that you will read it ..it is very exiting and interesting at the same time..thanks

  12. why do i have this feeling that everyone will become benders through the use of harnessing their cosmic energy like what the lion turtle said to aang and what tenzin said to korra, “our ancestors had the ability to bend the energy within themselves” and maybe that is the “change” of next season….Awesome!!!

  13. U seem to enjoy rishikesh :) Hope in the next season we will get to hear a little about krishnas way of life – this will be definitely interesting

  14. Great post. I really like how you’ve analyzed this and thought about it. Quite surprised that there are so many amazingly thoughtful Avatar fans all discussing the season ending.

    I thought this season was better than the previous although the whole Amon mystery was pretty awesome but once we figured that out, there wasn’t much else to it. The ending did have certain points that were difficult to make sense of but I decided to just go with it and enjoy the ending non-the-less.

    The connection with your spirit is interesting and the origins of the Avatar were well explained. Mike mentioned the similarity it has with Hinduism and I have to agree with him (especially with the whole reincarnation thing) but its also similar to Islam and other religions that are based on spiritualism and believing the soul and body are two separate entities with life after death.

    The spirit world and human world is similar to the parallel worlds that muslims believe exist that consist of humans and djinns. These djinns are like the spirits. Some despise humans whilst others don’t. They can come in and out of our world but we can’t enter theirs. They can also possess humans as shown by the spirit that Waan meets.

    I also believe that the human spirit can emit positive and negative energy around them as shown by Korra when she becomes angry and peaceful.

    Sometimes you don’t realise how spiritual a show like Avatar can be.
    Absolutely Amazing!

  15. YOU ARE SO WISE AND WONDERFUL <3 EEEEEE ^_^ I love the philosophy and exploration of Asian culture in Avatar and the way it is so translatable to real life! Can't wait for season 3! :)

  16. You touch me deeply, both as a person as well as what you’ve shown trough A:TLA and Legend of Koora. I hope you continue making series and wish you all the best.

  17. I have a request .Can you please make more episodes of avatar:The last air bender.You already have storyline so it wont be difficult. But another thing just strikes me if you create a movie like avatar:the promise part 1 and so on so it will be more profitable you dont have to think new names for every episode and you will be able to launch them in movie theatres too. Legend of korra should be the ending . You are writing the comics that means you also want to keep the Avatar : the last airbender series on.Make the movie in animation only because if you create it with the real actors then you will need vfx for special effects, but if you create in animation you just have to get voice actors,you yourself are aanimation director so it wont be that difficult.

    1. Writing & naming episodes are not the biggest hurdles to making a TV show. “The Search” was originally planned as a movie, but Nickelodeon wouldn’t greenlight it. Nickelodeon wants them to focus on Korra. The comics are a marketing tie-in, & also a compromise to appease fans of the old show. Also, they may not be able to get all of the voice actors, writers, consultants, & so on who worked on the old series. It’s been nearly 6 years, some of them may be busy with new shows. Aang’s voice actor is certainly way too old for his role by now.

  18. I have been inspired by all the Hindu philosophies in these shows(Korra/Aang). I have always struggled in believing. Believing in anything. God, love, life in general. I have always trusted in science and was always so quick to put down anything that took more than just believing. But after reading your post, “it’s made me hopeful again”.(Yes, I took that from “The Serpents Path”.) Hopeful that there is something beyond evolution. A place to go after this life, whether it be our spirit or soul. This is the first time that I could actually convince myself that there might be something more to this life. And Avatar has showed me this. So thank you. Please keep writing.

    Some of my favorite quotes:

    “I wanted to show how any one of us has the ability to tap into that cosmic, more-than-human version of ourselves and expand past the possibilities of what we think we’re capable of.”

    “This is how I have come to see all humanity — we’re all part human, part spirit. Like Korra, for a long time I wasn’t aware of my spiritual half, but over the years I’ve become more in tune with it and more accepting of that side of life.”

  19. I love the lesson from the finale. Even without raava korra tapped into her inner self to save the world and raava. Lets not forget jinora, she seems to be more enlightened. Jinora is a very special girl. I think she has earned her airbending tattoos

  20. You guys are really trying i love this movie,and i wish to be a registered fan of the Avatar universe,and please send me all notifications to my number.Am a nigerian.thanks alot

  21. Michael Dante DiMartino I know that you believe in god. And you believe that your inner soul comes from God. Are you trying to say that Korra in the spirit world as a blue creature is gewoorden. Imagine that these stories are the stories of our second life. And Adam in his life Twede avatar wan and the prpheten reecarnatie also reecernatie avatar can be. I will zillion percent Iroh are. Iroh 1. I also write an avatar story. Avatar the legend of hadock. The unself trust avatar

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  24. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation
    but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try tto get the hang of it!

  25. I’ve always loved the innate spirituality in avatar! Absent so often in kids shows but it’s essential part of all of us. And spirituality is so often connected to creativity like Campbell says – thank you for sharing your insight and creativity with all of us :) just love your shows.

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